Inspection results hit by tougher regime

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Hundreds of schools have been judged down in Ofsted inspections since the introduction of the new framework in January, official figures show.

Hundreds of schools have been judged down in Ofsted inspections since the introduction of the new framework in January, official figures show.

They confirm that under new chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw’s regime, schools are finding it much harder to gain the top “outstanding” grade.

According to statistics from the schools’ watchdog, of the 1,964 maintained schools in England inspected between January and the end of March this year, seven per cent (144) were judged “outstanding” for overall effectiveness, 50 per cent (979) were judged “good”, 34 per cent (658) were judged “satisfactory” and nine per cent (183) of schools were “inadequate”.

This compares with the academic year 2010/11 during which 11 per cent of schools were judged outstanding, 46 per cent good, 38 per cent satisfactory and six per cent inadequate.

However, it is difficult to make year-on-year comparisons as it is now much tougher for schools to gain a good or outstanding grade. 

Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said a “dive into the detail” showed that there was a lack of quality and consistency in Ofsted judgements.

“In the first month of the new framework, 14 per cent of schools were failed. In the third month, this figure is just four per cent. This suggests either an attempt by Ofsted to manage the impact, or an inspection workforce which is only now becoming competent at applying the framework correctly,” he said.

“Either way, it is poor consolation for schools inspected in January, and for those leaders who have lost their jobs as a result.”

He added that Ofsted needed urgently to “recalibrate” its judgement to prevent “a repeat of these fluctuations”.

Brian Lightman, general secretary of the Association for School and College Leaders, said he had concerns about further changes in inspections due to be implemented in September and expected a system of support to be in place to help those schools found to be in difficulty under the new arrangements.

“One of the big concerns has been the inconsistency in the quality and approach of inspection teams which in some cases has led to inaccurate judgements,” he said. “With yet more changes only a few months away, Ofsted must make sure all inspectors are properly trained and understand what is required. This is critical if they want to maintain credibility with the profession.” 


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